Investor Speed Dating
When the ongoing pandemic has closed down all live events, Nordea Startup and Growth opens up the opportunity of virtual matchmaking. Nordea Investor Speed Dating brings together high-growth startups and scaleups and local and global investors – safely online. If you are a startup or scaleup looking for the right investor for your brilliant business idea, read more about this matchmaking event and send in your application.
Deal Flow Manager Teija Nousiainen from Nordea tells us what approach to take when choosing an investor.
Be clear about what you want from an investor
Before contacting a potential investor, take the time to consider what is important for you. When seeking an investor, you are in fact looking for a business partner who will also become an owner of the company. How much financing are you looking for, in which direction do you want to take your startup and what are the ingredients needed for your company’s growth? With a clear set of criteria, it’s easier for you to start searching for the right kind of investor.
“Once you’re face to face with investors, it will be easier for you to align your expectations with theirs if your own ways of working and goals are crystal clear,” says Nousiainen.
Does your startup have a competence gap that an investor could help fill? Do you need experience or a wide network of contacts? Investors are often very well-connected people who can open new doors of opportunity for your business.
“Money is obviously important, but investors prefer that it’s not the only thing you’re looking for,” she adds.
Key startup terms
Deal Flow Manager = A person who matches potential investors with startups to develop the latter into profitable investments
Startup = A nascent company seeking growth
Scaleup = A rapidly growing startup
Venture capital = A form of private equity financing
SaaS = Cloud-based software provided as a service, replacing the traditional need to buy licensed services and install them on desktops
Angel investor = Usually a private individual who invests in an early-stage startup
Family office = A private investment firm owned by a wealthy family
CVC = Corporate venture capital, a company that invests private equity in companies that are not listed on the stock exchange (particularly startups and scaleups)
Approach people and trust the personal chemistry
Most startups approach investors directly at events, through contact forms or in forums like LinkedIn. Wherever there are people, there are also investors. However, initially, it may be hard for you to differentiate yourself from other startups.
A startup doing a round of financing can use Nordea’s Deal Flow Manager service, which matches startups with investors in Finland, the other Nordic countries and the rest of Europe.
“We know what kind of investments funds are looking for, allowing us to match new startups with investors,” says Nousiainen.
Matchmaking can take place also at the investor’s initiative, especially if a startup has succeeded in achieving visibility organically. Investors are looking for a great idea that will develop into the next great global growth story – but at the same time, investors need to believe in the team behind the startup.
“When choosing an investor, it’s crucial to get along with them and to have a shared vision of the company’s future. In the startup ecosystem, everyone wants to help one another: the company has the idea and the investor the resources for commercialising it and forming contacts,” she says.
“A smooth investor-startup relationship may also be built on two completely different sets of competences or ways of working, but there must always be a good personal chemistry when working together. Conflicting visions will make the cooperation difficult.”
Examine the investor’s portfolio
Some funds have an investment strategy that focuses purely on financing companies in a certain sector, like food technology or pharmaceuticals. When looking for the right fund, you should check the investor’s website and examine its portfolio. Which companies in your startup’s sector has the investor funded, and how have they performed?
“An experienced investor in your sector could be the perfect match for your startup. In general, all investors are seeking SaaS technology (Software as a Service), which is easily scalable and interests a lot of people,” Nousiainen says.
“An experienced investor in your sector could be the perfect match for your startup. In general, all investors are seeking SaaS technology (Software as a Service), which is easily scalable and interests a lot of people.”
Teija Nousiainen, Deal Flow Manager, Nordea Startup & Growth
Find the right kind of financing combination
The first investor in a nascent startup is usually an individual angel investor. Angel investors are usually the first persons to fund a startup after the founders’ family and friends. In addition, a startup can seek crowdfunding, an arrangement where many individual investors provide financing but the founders retain full ownership of the startup.
The most common form of financing for startups are venture capital funds that collect capital for investment from, for example, institutional investors, businesses and the public sector.
“And of course it’s good to remember bank loans, family offices and CVCs, too. Different forms of financing don’t rule out one another. So if you’re seeking, say, five million euros, you may obtain some of it from a venture capital fund, and some of it might be worth obtaining in the form of a bank loan,” says Nousiainen.
Sign up to the Open Insights newsletter to get stories like this delivered to your inbox!
The information provided within this website is intended for background information only. The views and other information provided herein are the current views of Nordea Bank Abp as of the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The information provided within this website is not an exhaustive description of the described product or the risks related to it, and it should not be relied on as such, nor is it a substitute for the judgement of the recipient.
The information provided within this website is not intended to constitute and does not constitute investment advice nor is the information intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The information provided within this website has no regard to the specific investment objectives, the financial situation or particular needs of any particular recipient. Relevant and specific professional advice should always be obtained before making any investment or credit decision. It is important to note that past performance is not indicative of future results.
Nordea Bank Abp is not and does not purport to be an adviser as to legal, taxation, accounting or regulatory matters in any jurisdiction.
The information provided within this website may not be reproduced, distributed or published for any purpose without the prior written consent from Nordea Bank Abp.